Connect with us


Sri Lanka finish off campaign in style beating defending champions



Pathum Nissanka posted yet another half-century in the ICC T-20 World Cup and the 91 stand between him and Charith Asalanka laid the platform for the innings. Pix by Sameera Pieris.

Rex Clementine in Abu Dhabi

Sri Lanka finished off their campaign in the ICC T-20 World Cup in style beating defending champions West Indies in a convincing fashion here in Abu Dhabi yesterday. Having set a target of 190, Sri Lanka’s bowlers came up with a splendid effort to restrict the two time World Champions to 169 as Wanindu Hasaranga caused heavy damage. The leg-spinner bowed off as the tournament’s highest wicket taker having snared 16 victims. It’s the highest haul by a Sri Lankan in a T-20 World Cup with the previous best being Ajantha Mendis’ 12 scalps in the 2012 edition at home.

Shimron Hetmyer put up a brilliant show finishing on an unbeaten 81 off 54 deliveries with eight fours and four sixes. But the Windies were always playing catch up chasing the massive target.

Never mind that Sri Lanka did not qualify for the semi-finals. This young bunch has been an absolute treat to watch.

Pathum Nissanka and Charith Asalanka, Sri Lanka Under-19 team mates in 2016, have carried the senior team’s batting in this campaign. Asalanka signs off as tournament’s highest run scorer with 231 runs and an average of 46 and strike rate of 141. Nissanka is not far behind having scored 221 runs having played two more games than Asalanka. Jos Buttler comes in third with 214 runs.

What do Pathum Nissanka and Sir Jack Hobbs have in common? Both their fathers were groundsmen.  What do Charith Asalanka and Kumar Sangakkara have in common? They had/have an insatiable appetite for runs.

Asalanka, the captain in waiting is 24 while Nissanka is a few months younger to him. How Nissanka was not even in the reserve list lead up to the World Cup is mind-boggling. But as philosopher Sangakkara once said, selectors like god go about their business in mysterious ways.

Sri Lanka had to wait for four years to find Asanka Gurusinha’s replacement at number three. Sanga came along and he was prolific there for a decade and half. Six years after Sanga’s retirement, we have unearthed another gem in Asalanka. A long career awaits him and he will probably make his Test debut as well in two weeks time at his hometown – Galle.

Both youngsters completed half-centuries adding 91 off 61 balls to turn the tide in Sri Lanka’s favour.

They had set things up nicely for the middle order to throw caution to the wind in the last five overs and skipper Dasun Shanaka promoted himself to number four position and smashed an unbeaten 25 off 14 balls.

West Indies struggled lacking genuine pace.

Sri Lanka rued losing to South Africa a close game and a few mistakes against England and Australia proved to be costly during the World Cup.

Latest News

Jadeja’s nerveless hitting gifts Chennai Super Kings fifth IPL title




Jadeja finished the chase with a 6 and a 4 off the last two balls from Mohit Sharma in the 20th over

Chennai Super Kings became IPL champions for the fifth time in a game befitting a title clash. With 10 needed off the last two deliveries, Ravindra Jadeja smacked a six down the ground and a four to fine leg off Mohit Sharma to seal one of the most dramatic finales in the history the tournament.

Brief Scores:

Gujarat Titans 214/4 in 20 overs (Sai Sudharsan 96, Wriddhiman Saha 54; Matheesha Pathirana 2-44) lost to Chennai Super Kings 171/5 in 20 overs (Devon Conway 47, Shivam Dube 32*) by 5 wickets (DLS method)

Continue Reading


Chameera returns after surgery but no place for KJP



Dushmantha Chameera returns to the side after a seventh month layoff.

Fast bowler Dushmanta Chameera returns to the side after a seven month layoff having undergone ankle surgery as the selectors picked a balanced squad for the three-match series against Afghanistan starting later this week at Suriyawewa.

Although Chameera has been named in the squad, there was no place for top order batsman Kusal Janith Perera, who had returned to 20 side in New Zealand two months ago. KJP on that occasion had only been picked for T-20s and there are question marks about his fitness for the 50 over format.

Fans will be hoping that by the time the World Cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe begin next month, KJP will be cleared to feature in the 50 over format as well. One of the most destructive batters in the side, KJP has been in and out of the team due to injuries.

Opening batsman Dimuth Karunaratne also makes a comeback to the ODI outfit having been axed from the 50 over format two years ago. Sri Lanka’s problems of not being able to bat out 50 overs in recent times is seen as the reason for Dimuth’s return to the side.

Uncapped leg-spinner Dushan Hemantha has also been named in the squad but now that Wanindu Hasaranga has recovered from an injury, he’s expected to play ahead of the 29-year-old.

There’s no place for left-arm quick Dilshan Madushanka either although there was lot of excitement when he first made an impact during last year’s Asia Cup. Young all-rounder Dunith Wellalage has also been overlooked for the three-match series.

The selectors are not expected to do too many changes from the 16-member squad chosen for the Afghanistan series for the World Cup qualifiers.

The first ODI gets underway Friday (2nd June) followed by games on June 4th and 7th. The series was drafted in to give the Sri Lankan team some competitive games ahead of the World Cup qualifiers.

Sri Lanka Squad:

Dasun Shanaka (Captain), Kusal Mendis (Vice-Captain), Pathum Nissanka, Dimuth Karunaratne, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya De Silva, Charith Asalanka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Maheesh Theekshana, Dushan Hemantha, Chamika Karunaratne, Dushmantha Chameera, Matheesha Pathirana, Lahiru Kumara, Kasun Rajitha

Afghanistan Squad:

Hashmatullah Shahidi (Captain), Rahmat Shah (Vice-Captain), Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Ibrahim Zadran, Riaz Hassan, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Ikram Alikhail (wk), Azmatullah Omarzai, Rashid Khan, Mujib ur Rahman, Noor Ahmad, Abdul Rahman, Fazal Haq Farooqi, Farid Ahmad Malik.

Continue Reading


Yupun out of competitions for few weeks due to injury



Yupun Abeykoon

by Reemus Fernando

Sprinter Yupun Abeykoon who suffered an injury during last week’s 100 metres final of the Savona International Meet will ‘stay away from competitions for few weeks.’

“After the MRI test which I took after my race in Savona, it is unfortunate that I have to inform you all that due to a minor hamstring injury I have to stay away from competitions for a few weeks due to medical advice given by experts,” said the Italy based sprinter in a statement yesterday.

Abeykoon was placed second behind Reece Prescod of Britain in the final of the Savona International Meet last week. The national record holder returned a wind-assisted 10.01 seconds (+2.7) performance to open his season in the 100metres. However, despite placing second in the final, he was seen struggling during the last few metres of the race. The injury means he must skip one of the major 100 metres events this week.

The first South Asian Sprinter to break the ten seconds barrier in the men’s 100 metres, Abeykoon was expected to compete against a star-studded lineup at the Golden Gala Pietro Mennea in Florence later this week.

The world-class lineup includes world champion Fred Kerley and Kenyan world leader in the 100 metres this season, Ferdinand Omanyala.

“I have already started my rehab process with my physio, doctors and the rest of the staff and I am looking forward to coming back stronger than I was in the upcoming competitions,” he further stated.

The highest-ranked Sri Lankan male athlete, Abeykoon is the prime medal hopeful at this year’s Asian Games. Sri Lanka Athletics is relying heavily on Abeykoon to end the country’s medal drought in track and field at the quadrennial event.

He is also the only male athlete to be in the required range in the world rankings to be eligible for selection for this year’s World Championships.

Continue Reading